Lee Heidhues 4.4.2023
I was genuinely shocked when I saw this article.
Immediately I asked myself, “Why is it necessary for people to slaughter these peaceful animals which have roamed the earth’s surface long before the selfish human race entered the scene.”
Answer, “It’s not.”
Excerpted from The New York Times 4.4.2023
HELENA, Mont. — An unusually harsh winter that buried Yellowstone National Park under a heavy blanket of snow and ice this year pushed a large portion of the park’s bison herd down to lower elevations and out of the park in search of milder climes and food.
Many were stopped from migrating even farther.
For four months, state and federal officials have sanctioned a hunt of the shaggy, humped animals that delight millions of tourists and are a centerpiece of Native American culture and history.
Buffalo Field Campaign, turned out this year to protest the ban on bison migration out of the park onto federal land in Montana. “They are killing one-quarter of the herd,” said Mike Mease, a founder of the organization. “That is insanity.”
Mr. Mease acknowledged the importance of the eight Indigenous tribal hunt, but he criticized what he said was a powerful commercial influence driving the extent of the hunt.
“They wipe out way too many buffalo,” he said. “No other wildlife is treated this way. This is all directed by the Montana livestock industry.”
Billboards sponsored by two environmental groups, Roam Free Nation and Alliance for the Wild Rockies, showcase concerns, with one featuring a photo of a herd of bison and a hunter, and the headline: “There is no hunt. It’s a slaughter.”
Officials said they had no choice but to approve the lengthy culling of the roughly 6,000-member herd as the animals instinctually cross the park boundary onto other public land primarily to the north in Montana’s Paradise Valley, but also west of the park. It is part of a strategy to prevent them from getting near livestock, because some 60 percent of the bison herd carries a disease, brucellosis, that could infect cattle and cause cows to abort their calves.
But in the last several weeks, the scope of the hunt, conducted mainly by members of eight Indigenous tribes, along with other park control measures, has generated more criticism than previous hunts.
As the culling winds down, the record-breaking number of bison removed from Yellowstone’s herd has climbed to more than 1,530 — including hundreds of pregnant females that would have soon been giving birth. Hundreds more were sent out of the park — some to slaughterhouses and about 285 to a quarantine site where they will be held to determine if they are disease-free. The healthy ones will be sent to homes on Native American lands elsewhere.
Top photo – Lee Heidhues – September 2017